SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — The inside of the Shaker Heights Fire Station on Chagrin Boulevard doubled on Tuesday for a vaccination booster clinic. Driving many to fill the 220 open slots this day? Omicron.
“Very scary how it happened so fast,” said Curtis Mack of South Euclid. “It hit here so fast and spread so fast I feel as though I have to protect my family and I would like to see my Mom so I want to make sure that I protect myself to go see my mother."
Crystal Montgomery of Shaker Heights said Omicron made her decision to book an appointment for a booster a binary one.
"I mean you look at the state map and it's everywhere so you better get protected or get the virus, take your pick,” Montgomery said.
To Mack, Montgomery and the others who came out the doctors at Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals say thanks.
"We need your help now more than ever,” said University Hospitals Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Daniel Simon during a joint news conference. “What you do now with us will impact how we make it through this pandemic together."
The Clinic and U.H. say their systems and their workers are overwhelmed and not seeing a light as Omicron spreads.
"This virus is so much more contagious than any of the other viruses, viral variants of COVID-19 and so it is really spreading like a wildfire across Northeast Ohio,” said Dr. Claudia Hoyen of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
The Omicron variant accounted for around 13% of cases last week, this week it's 73%. In the Cleveland Clinic system, doctors say 80% of those hospitalized have not been vaccinated nor have 90% of those in their ICU. Their advice to you is nothing new.
"If you haven't been boosted do it now,” said Hoyen. “If you still have questions about being vaccinated get in touch with your doctor."
That's what Charles Evans said he did ahead of getting his booster, something that put him at ease.
“I feel a lot more confident if I do go out that the possibility of me being able to make it through it if something does happen is a bit better,” Evans said. “So feeling a bit more secure."